Book Review: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Lily Tran, Feature Editor

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Goodreads Rating: 4.1/5
My Rating: 4.5/5


This is a world divided by blood – red or silver.

The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to Mare Barrow, a seventeen-year-old Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change.

That is, until she finds herself working in the Silver Palace. Here, surrounded by the people she hates the most, Mare discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of power.

Fearful of Mare’s potential, the Silvers hide her in plain view, declaring her a long-lost Silver princess, now engaged to a Silver prince. Despite knowing that one misstep would mean her death, Mare works silently to help the Red Guard, a militant resistance group, and bring down the Silver regime.

But this is a world of betrayal and lies, and Mare has entered a dangerous dance – Reds against Silvers, prince against prince, and Mare against her own heart.


Red Queen is a young adult fantasy book written in first person from Mare Barrow’s (the protagonist) point of view. Mare is a Red, meaning she has red blood which makes her just an ordinary human. The elites of this world are Silvers who have silver blood that enable them abilities like controlling fire, metal, and water or even mind manipulation. Reds live in poverty and become slaves to the silvers. There is an ongoing war between the kingdom of Norta (where the story takes place) and a neighboring country called the Lakelands. Reds are conscripted to fight in the war at the age of 18 unless they have a job, and finding a job is very difficult.

In an attempt to avoid conscription, Mare tries to steal money to pay for passage through the black market. However, she gets caught by the Crown Prince of Nortal, Cal Calore, and finds herself working in the palace. There, she discovers that she is different than both red and silver. She is a Red with abilities to control and create electricity. In order to hide this startling truth, the royal family disguises Mare as a long lost Silver, painting her skin everyday to blend in, and engages her to the second son, Maven Calore.

Through Mare’s time in the palace, she trains to be a Silver and prepare to live a lie for the rest of her life, hiding her red blood forever. But she gets caught up in the Red rebellion through the Scarlet Guard, an organized Red rebellion trying to end Silver superiority and tyranny in the world. She falls in love with the Calores, finding herself betraying her blood, her heart, and herself. After all, “anyone can betray anyone.”
I fell in love with this book when I first read it. Aveyard just has a way of keeping everything so interesting and intricate and intriguing. It was hard to pull my head out of the pages. The story made a lot of references to a lot of historical events and conflicts like segregation and propaganda and rebellions.

Mare is a complex character. She’s not necessarily naive, but she isn’t very clever either. She always seems to forget who her enemies are and what they are capable of, and she ends up contributing to her own downfall. She is full of anger and despair and she often doesn’t think to see the full picture. She thinks she is the one pulling the strings, but she finds herself being the pawn.

The only reason I didn’t rate the book a full five stars is because there is little to no depth with the world-building. There is no explanation or history of the world before and it doesn’t explain why the world is in the state it is in.

But other than that, this book was magnificent and amazing. The second book, Glass Sword, is even better and full of more plot twists and betrayal than the first, and the third book, King’s Cage, comes out February 1st!